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  • Physics
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For current class offerings, times, and additional information, please visit: Office of the Registrar: Schedule of Classes.

Physics Course Descriptions

PHYS-100: Physics for the Modern World 5:1 (4)

The laws and rules that govern nature and the physical universe are beautiful yet mysterious. Physics is the science that tries to find these laws by observation, measurement, and testing of hypotheses. The course traces the development of the scientific method and work that forms the basis for studying mechanics, waves, sound, light, and electricity. Includes laboratory. Usually offered every term. Prerequisite: completion of the University Mathematics Requirement or concurrent enrollment in a mathematics or statistics course that has MATH-15x Finite Mathematics as a prerequisite.

 

PHYS-105: College Physics I 5:1 (4)

General physics as defined as the study of the properties and interactions of matter and energy using scientific methodology. Covers a full range of subjects in classical mechanics and in thermodynamics, including lab experiments in mechanics, heat, and sound. Usually offered every fall. Prerequisite: MATH-170 or equivalent.

 

PHYS-110: Principles of Physics I 5:1 (4)

General physics as defined as the study of the properties and interactions of matter and energy using scientific methodology. Uses calculus-based mathematical methods in solving physical problems. Covers a full range of subjects in classical mechanics and thermodynamics, including lab experiments in mechanics, heat, and sound. Usually offered every fall. Prerequisite: MATH-221, may be taken concurrently.

 

PHYS-196: Selected Topics: Non-recurring (1-6)

Topics vary by section, may be repeated for credit with different topic.

 

PHYS-200: Physics for a New Millennium 5:2 (3)

In an interactive lab/lecture environment, students have the opportunity to explore topics in electricity and magnetism, light and optics, and modern physics. Emphasis is placed on inquiry-based activities that utilize these topics as a foundation for understanding current technological advancements. Usually offered every fall. Prerequisite for General Education credit: CHEM-100 or CHEM-110 or PHYS-100 or PHYS-105 or PHYS-110.

 

PHYS-205: General Physics II 5:2 (4)

Incorporates the standard subjects in electricity and magnetism (fields, potentials, DC and AC circuits, electromagnetic waves), geometrical and physical optics, and an introduction to quantum physics. Includes lab experiments in electricity, magnetism, light, and sound. Usually offered every spring. Prerequisite for General Education credit: CHEM-100 or CHEM-110 or PHYS-100 or PHYS-105 or PHYS-110.

 

PHYS-210: Principles of Physics II 5:2 (4)

Uses calculus-based mathematical methods in solving physical problems. Incorporates the standard subjects in electricity and magnetism (fields, potentials, DC and AC circuits, electromagnetic waves), geometrical and physical optics, and an introduction to quantum physics. Includes lab experiments in electricity, magnetism, light, and optics. Usually offered every spring. Prerequisite for General Education credit: CHEM-100 or CHEM-110 or PHYS-100 or PHYS-105 or PHYS-110.

 

PHYS-220: Astronomy 5:2 (3)

Theories of the formation of the universe, its structure and evolution over time. Stars, planets, and galaxies are born and change over the years; supernovae, neutron stars, pulsars, black holes, quasars, and solar systems are formed. Usually offered every term. Prerequisite for General Education credit: CHEM-100 or CHEM-110 or PHYS-100 or PHYS-105 or PHYS-110.

 

PHYS-230: Changing Views of the Universe 2:2 (3)

Study of science as a tradition that shaped and was shaped by the Western world. This is a course about science--how scientific thought, practice, and culture developed. It explores changing concepts in the physical sciences from their earliest roots to modern times, and discusses the interaction between the physical sciences and other aspects of society. Usually offered every fall. Prerequisite for General Education credit: GOVT-105 or HIST-115 or JLS-110 or PHIL-105 or RELG-105.

 

PHYS-296: Selected Topics: Non-recurring (1-6)

Topics vary by section, may be repeated for credit with different topic.

 

PHYS-300: Acoustics (3)

Properties of sound, speech and music, reflection and diffraction. Open-air theaters, sound-absorptive materials and special constructions, and principles of room acoustics and design. Noise control, reduction of air-borne and solid-borne noise, and control of noise in ventilating systems, sound-amplification systems, and auditoriums. Usually offered alternate falls. Prerequisite: PHYS-200, PHYS-205, or PHYS-210.

 

PHYS-310: Electronics I (3)

Fundamentals of basic analog electronic components and circuits. Components examined include: resistors, capacitors, inductors, rectifiers, transformers, triodes, and transistors. Quantities examined include: voltage, resistance, current, inductance, capacitance, reactance, and impedance. Circuit analysis involves application of Ohm146s Law and Kirchhoff146s rules. Circuits include: DC, AC, tuned, rectifier, and simple amplifying circuits. Usually offered every fall. Prerequisite: PHYS-200, PHYS-205, or PHYS-210.

 

PHYS-315: Electronics Laboratory I (2)

Experiments to accompany PHYS-310. Experiments include: DC circuits, resistance, capacitance, inductance, AC circuits, rectifiers, vacuum tubes, transistors, and amplifying circuits. Usually offered alternate falls. Must be taken concurrently with PHYS-310.

 

PHYS-320: Electronics II (3)

Continuation of analog electronics with an introduction to switching circuits and the fundamentals of digital electronics (TTL and diode logic). Components include semiconductor devices, operational amplifiers, ICs, D/A and A/D converters. Circuits include: multiple transistor amplifiers, transistor switching, oscillators, gates, and flip-flops. Usually offered every spring. Prerequisite: PHYS-312.

 

PHYS-325: Electronics Laboratory II (2)

Experiments to accompany ATEC-313. Experiments include: transistor characteristics, multiple transistor amplifiers, operational amplifiers, oscillators, gates, flip-flops, D/A and A/D conversion, and circuits using ICs. Usually offered every spring. Must be taken concurrently with PHYS-312.

 

PHYS-331: Modern Physics (3)

Electrons, protons, and structure of matter: a historic view. The Rutherford-Bohr atom and elements of quantum mechanics and their applications to atomic, nuclear, and solid state physics. Usually offered every spring. Prerequisite: PHYS-200, PHYS-205, or PHYS-210, or permission of instructor. 

 

PHYS-351: Waves and Optics (3)

The physics of waves is required to understand sound, light, and electronic information transfer. Starting with resonance phenomena, Fourier analysis, and basic wave equations, the course builds to an understanding of acoustic and optics. Laboratory activities are integrated into lectures. Usually offered every spring. Prerequisite: PHYS-200, PHYS-205, or PHYS-210, or permission of instructor.

 

PHYS-360: Astrophysics (3)

A study of the interiors, atmosphere, and life cycle of the sun and other stars. The course includes methods for quantifying stellar characteristics, radiative transfer, fundamental stellar timescales, thermonuclear reactions, and evolutionary models. Usually offered alternate springs. Prerequisite: PHYS-331 or permission of instructor.

 

PHYS-370: Modern Physics (3)

Electrons, protons, and structure of matter: a historic view. The Rutherford-Bohr atom and elements of quantum mechanics and their applications to atomic, nuclear, and solid state physics. Usually offered every spring. Prerequisite: PHYS-200, PHYS-205, or PHYS-210, or permission of instructor.

 

PHYS-380: Mathematical and Computational Physics (3)

Introduces mathematical methods that are regularly used in upper-level physics courses, including linear algebra and eigenvalue problems, applications of multivariate and vector calculus, ordinary and partial differential equations, among others, and applies these to a variety of physics problems. Mathematica software is taught and used in the course. Usually offered alternate falls. Prerequisite: PHYS-200, PHYS-205, or PHYS-210, and MATH-313 (may be taken concurrently.)

 

PHYS-390: Independent Reading Course in Physics (1-6)

Prerequisite: permission of instructor and department chair.

 

PHYS-396: Selected Topics: Non-recurring (1-6)

Topics vary by section, may be repeated for credit with different topic.

 

PHYS-430: Classical Mechanics (3)

Vector analysis. Newton's laws and dynamics of particles. Harmonic oscillator. Conservative systems. Gravitational forces and potential. Central fields and the motions of planets and satellites. Relativity. Elements of mathematical physics. Usually offered alternate falls. Prerequisite: MATH-313 (which may be taken concurrently), and PHYS-365, or permission of instructor.

 

PHYS-440: Experimental Physics (3)

Lectures and laboratory with selected experiments to accompany advanced courses in mechanics, electricity and magnetism, acoustics, optics, and modern physics. Students plan and complete experiments that fit their background and previous training. Usually offered alternate springs. Prerequisite: PHYS-370 or permission of instructor.

 

PHYS-450: Electricity and Magnetism (3)

Electrostatics, potential theory, magnetic fields, Faraday and Ampere's laws, dielectric magnetic media, and Maxwell's equations. Usually offered every alternate springs. Prerequisite: MATH-313 and PHYS-365.

 

PHYS-460: Statistical Mechanics (3)

An introduction to thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, the areas of physics that provide general frameworks for understanding how the macroscopic behaviors of matter and energy emerge from the microscopic properties of atoms, molecules, and other elementary particles or degrees of freedom. Usually offered alternate falls. Prerequisite: PHYS-351 and MATH-313.

 

PHYS-470: Introduction to Quantum Mechanics (3)

Wave mechanics, Schroedinger equation, potential barriers and potential wells, harmonic oscillator, operators, eigenfunctions, eigenvalues, degeneracies, angular momentum, hydrogen atom. Usually offered every alternate springs. Prerequisite: MATH-321 and PHYS-370, or permission of instructor.

 

PHYS-480: Physics Capstone Seminar (3)

Weekly research seminars include discussion of or lectures on physics research methods or research-related topics, and development of research skills, including the use of important scientific software and research tools. Students develop a capstone research project and associated goals, write a substantial research thesis, present a professional research talk, and maintain a research notebook. Usually offered every spring. Prerequisite: permission of department.

 

PHYS-490: Independent Study Project in Physics (1-6)

Prerequisite: permission of instructor and department chair.

 

PHYS-491: Internship (1-6)

Prerequisite: permission of instructor and department chair.

 
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